Are Trucking Companies Switching To Automatic Transmissions?

Topic 4925 | Page 9

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Brett Aquila's Comment
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I did find one site that says anywhere from 1 to 3% better [fuel mileage with an automatic]

That sounds much more reasonable.

I think I'd rather go by what drivers say

Yeah, cuz if a truck driver said it, it must be true!

andhe78's Comment
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Student driver here, didn't realize auto vs manual was such a big deal. My number one and number three company that I'm applying to, run an automatic fleet (although that's not the reason I'm applying to them.) Is it the consensus that I should start with a manual fleet?

On a side note, how many posts do I have to have before they stop having to be approved?

Greg H.'s Comment
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I think I'd rather go by what drivers say

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Yeah, cuz if a truck driver said it, it must be true!

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lol, well, of course...

Greg H.'s Comment
member avatar

Student driver here, didn't realize auto vs manual was such a big deal. My number one and number three company that I'm applying to, run an automatic fleet (although that's not the reason I'm applying to them.) Is it the consensus that I should start with a manual fleet?

On a side note, how many posts do I have to have before they stop having to be approved?

Manual, Auto, it doesn't matter, as far as I've heard. Brett drove Auto for uh 8 years I believe with US Express... the only issue I've heard about Manual and Auto is that if you don't take your initial driving test in a Manual, in some states you will end up with a restriction of only being able to drive Auto. Drive what you want with whomever you want though. But, know how to drive both.

And, eh, well, Brett will delete some and except many ... and he'll edit some others. It's one of those never ending stories of big brother looking over your shoulder. lol So, watch your speech, don't get to radical or wacky, and don't be a dweeb, you should be fine. :)

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
MyNameGoesHere's Comment
member avatar

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Right now my company only has one auto but we plan on getting more. We're averaging close to a 3mpg difference between that and the manuals. So over the long term they will end up saving a ton. Of course on the other hand I drive for a very small company who leases the tractors so maintaining them isn't so much a big problem. I couldn't picture the huge national companies going to mostly autos though.

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I know this is a little delayed/late but CRST has a majority auto fleet.

C.R. England only trains their people on the new autos.

I personally, especially being a new driver, would prefer auto if I'm doing a bunch of city driving.

Since the new ones are just auto assisted manual transmission. The only difference I can imagine is the added weight of the transmission reducing mileage. Beyond that it would just come down to how you drive. Right?

Johnnie Mac's Comment
member avatar

I did not read the entire thread so this might have been brought up. Im in school so i have no experience in a truck yet but ive only ever driven a manual in my pov. Can you get the tractor in the right gear (mainly down a grade). My instructor wasnt very helpful because he never drove an automatic. Ive always liked a standard simply because i feel you can get a better feel for the vehicle you are driving and i feel that is important. Anyone that drives one and can answer i would appreciate it. I will be learning on old unsychronized standard transmissions but should i expect an auto in late april 2018 with my first company.. That will most likely be a larger one ?

Old School's Comment
member avatar
Can you get the tractor in the right gear (mainly down a grade).

Hey Johnnie Mac, good question!

My sole experience with these new automatic transmissions is with the Volvo. I'm thinking they are all similar though. First thing you need to understand is that these transmissions are basically the same standard gear boxes we've been using for decades. The only real difference is that the actual "gear shifting" is computer controlled rather than driver controlled. It is still a standard transmission and still controls the truck just as well.

Here's the way mine works when going down a steep grade. When I have the Jake Brake engaged and my foot off the accelerator, the transmission holds the gear that it is in. It won't upshift just because my speed is increasing. If the speed increases to a point where my RPMs are getting too high then I merely put on the brakes for a few brief seconds to slow it down to a safe level, and then let off the brakes. That is exactly the same way it works in a standard shift transmission, and I should add that this thing has worked flawlessly for me.

If I want more control over the gear selections, such as when going down a steep grade in a snow storm where maybe I'm not wanting to use the Jake Brake, I can put the transmission into manual mode. By simply pulling the transmission mode selection lever back one notch from the "drive" position I'm putting the transmission into "manual mode." At that point I have two buttons on the side of the mode selection lever that allow me to upshift by using my thumb to push the top button, or downshift by pushing the bottom button. Once again, it will hold whatever gear you've selected.

I've known some drivers who drive their Volvo in manual mode all the time. They just like to control when the gears get shifted, and it is designed to work that way.

I've been through most of the well known mountain passes and steep grades in my Volvo while loaded up nice and heavy. This thing has performed flawlessly - it actually feels better than when I was the one choosing the gears!

So much for my driving skills. smile.gif

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Here's the Freightliner side of this story. I don't have any mountain passes, but have a few hills and downgrades every day. I drive a 2017 model with the auto-shifter. I also use the Adaptive Cruise Control.

Going up hill, the transmission does what it aught to do and downshifts on its own to get up the hill. Down the other side, it will automatically kick in the retarders, and the engine will rev up & past 2k RPM. The Jakes will automatically upgrade to keep me just above or at the set speed limit.

This is pretty consistent, and if I ever press the brakes, the ACC releases and I either Resume the speed control or work the brakes and Jakes myself.

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